Iran yesterday vowed to push forward with efforts to enrich uranium and to change its relations with the international nuclear watchdog after the UN Security Council imposed sanctions designed to stop the country's disputed nuclear efforts.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the Security Council would regret voting in favor of the sanctions, saying he was sorry the West lost its chance to make amends with Iran.
"I am sorry for you who lost [the]opportunity of friendship with [the] nation of Iran. You yourself know that you cannot damage [the] nation of Iran an iota," the state-run news agency, IRNA, quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.
Ahmadinejad also said the UN must accept Iran's nuclear program and warned that sanctions would not harm his country.
"You have to accept that Iran has the technology of producing nuclear fuel. And it will celebrate it in coming anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution in February. You, resorting to these sort of activities, cannot achieve anything except dissolving your reputation," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said Iran pledged to change its relationship with the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
"We are not obliged and it is not expected that cooperation with the IAEA continues [at] the same former level," Hosseini said.
He did not provide details about what would change.
Iran's parliament yesterday voted to urge the administration to revise its cooperation with the IAEA but did not set a timeline or provide further details. Many legislators chanted "Death to America" after the vote.
"The government should seriously and strongly continue the important issue of peaceful nuclear technology with prudence and foresight. It should never accept such illogical pressures," more than 200 legislators said in a statement read on state-run radio.
The Security Council resolution -- the result of two months of tough negotiation -- orders all countries to stop supplying Iran with materials and technology that could contribute to its nuclear and missile programs. It also freezes the Iranian assets of 10 key companies and 12 individuals related to those programs.
If Iran refuses to comply, the council warned it would adopt further non-military sanctions, but the resolution emphasized the importance of diplomacy in seeking guarantees "that Iran's nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes."
Ahmadinejad also downplayed the resolution, saying it would be the Security Council that regretted it, not Iran.
"This will not damage the nation of Iran, but its issuers will soon regret this superficial and nil act," he said, speaking to a group of war veterans from the 1980 to 1988 Iran-Iraq war at the former US embassy in Tehran.
The US has said it hopes the resolution will clear the way for tougher measures by individual countries, particularly Russia.
The Bush administration had pushed for tougher penalties. But Russia and China, which both have strong commercial ties to Tehran, and Qatar, across the Persian Gulf from Iran, balked.
To get their votes, the resolution dropped a ban on international travel by Iranian officials involved in nuclear and missile development and specified the banned items and technologies.
It says the council will review Iran's actions in light of a report from the head of the IAEA, requested within 60 days, on whether Iran has suspended uranium enrichment and complied with other IAEA demands.
It also says sanctions will end when the board of IAEA confirms that Iran has complied with all its obligations.
Earlier yesterday, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, said the resolution made his country more "decisive in realizing our nuclear aims."
"From Sunday morning, we will begin activities at Natanz -- site of 3,000-centrifuge machines -- and we will drive it with full speed. It will be our immediate response to the resolution," Iran's Kayhan newspaper quoted Larijani as saying.
Iran showed its ability to enrich uranium in February, when it produced a small batch of low-enriched uranium using a set of 164 centrifuges at its pilot complex in Natanz.
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